Achieving Good Grades Is Possible – With Effort

When it comes to getting good grades in school there is more to it than just showing up. Anyone can pass a class if that’s all it takes, but are they learning anything? Good grades in grade and high school are indicators to colleges that a student is motivated to succeed. Successful people aren’t just born to succeed, and they can’t just wish for good grades and not make an effort to achieve them. Success is born out of hard work, sweat, time and motivation. If you don’t have those you may as well just apply to McDonald’s.

If you are serious about improving your grades and working your way to success, here are a few suggestions that have proven to be successful:

1.           Begin by setting goals.   Write down the grades you believe you deserve at this point, and what you want to receive. Be realistic. If the class is extremely hard, say calculus, an A would be nice, but is it realistic? Write down what you actually believe you can make if you put some effort into it. You can always overshoot the goal mark, and that would be even better. Then set long-term as well as short-term goals.

2.           Put a picture in your head of you reaching your goal. Visualization is an excellent way to get your mindset into making improvements. You’ve set your goal, and now you have to envision yourself reaching it. Picture yourself holding your report card with the goal grade highlighted big and bold. In your mind you have already gotten that grade. You set yourself up for success by projecting a positive mental attitude.   When you find yourself having difficulty, refer to the image of your success.

3.           Attend each class. Every class you miss makes it more difficult to get all the information you will need. Woody Allen, actor and producer, once said, Eighty percent of success is showing up.” If you skip a class it only hurts you. The teacher already knows the material, and the other students are there for themselves. Who knows if you didn’t miss an essential piece of information that is key to a good grade on your final exam?   Not everything taught can be found in a textbook. Teachers are not paid to fill time, and they are always willing to teach to those willing to learn. There are no guarantees in life, but by showing up you will be 80% further than you would be if you hadn’t.

4.           Take notes and be prepared. Coming to class without a pen and paper, or tape recorder, calculator, and any necessary aid to help you learn is almost as if you didn’t show up. Unless you have an eidetic (photographic) memory you will not be able to remember everything that is said, or even just the things that are important. Don’t rely on the notes taken by others either. The best way you will get to understand what is being taught is to listen yourself. Notes are a tool, and like any tool are only useful if you take advantage of them. Keep this in mind: if the teacher takes the time to write on the blackboard, put something in PowerPoint, or show slides, or repeats it – it is important!

5.           You have to study all along, not just the night before a test. All-nighters have been proven to destroy college careers. First, if you are up all night studying you didn’t get the needed sleep in order to function without brain fog. Secondly, if you didn’t know or understand it the day before the test you won’t get it for the test. Third, you can’t learn in one night what you should have been learning all semester. Although there are some people so smart they absorb everything they hear or see, they are rare, and you probably are not one of them. Also, there isn’t a teacher alive who is able to communicate so well their students catch everything right away. Textbooks and study guides were made to assist the teacher, and allow you to refer to for supporting information.

6.           Grades are not just based on test scores. At the beginning of the semester most teachers will inform you what percentage of your grade is from tests, homework, participation, term papers, etc. These are not guides — they are rules, and you should treat them as such. If your term paper is due on a certain day, and you turn it in two days later, don’t expect the same grade you would have gotten if it were turned in on time. Many teachers take off one grade point for each day a paper is late. I have a cousin with an extremely high IQ, but he refused to do his homework. He got straight A’s on tests, but flunked the class. Why? Because the teacher told the class at the beginning of the semester that homework had to be turned in, and it was a large percentage of the grade. He didn’t pay attention to these instructions and it cost him. Pay attention!

7.           Be interactive. Participate in class. Ask questions. Be polite. If you still don’t understand, speak to the teacher after class. This will help to get you noticed, and will help to improve your grades.

8.           Pay attention to your eating and sleeping habits. This may sound like something your mother would say, but the facts are that researchers proven a balanced diet with the proper amount of exercise and sleep will help your brain to function at its best. This will allow you to get the best grades possible and help you hit your goal.

It will take a lot of effort, some time, and your determination to succeed. Nothing worth doing is ever simple. If you believe in yourself, organize your time, don’t procrastinate, and keep your goals in mind.

About the author:

Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at


Self-Improvement Tips For Getting Better Grades by Nabeel Shaukat —

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